Traditional Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) is a federal healthcare plan meant to help elderly people meet their challenging health requirements in their golden years. This system is pretty comprehensive, yet there are numerous charges – often referred to as “gaps” in coverage – which could become expensive if you don’t have any different coverage available. For many retirees, the response to this issue is often a Medigap (Medicare Supplement) insurance policy. Any senior citizen age 65+ who is presently enrolled in Medicare can apply for a Medigap policy.
Federal Regulations for Medicare Supplements
The CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) is the governmental body responsible for regulating the 10 Medigap plans which are currently available for purchase. Because the plans are regulated, you can be sure that Plan F insurance coverage in West Virginia is the same as it would be in any alternative state. All you have to be concerned about is choosing the ideal company, and finding an inexpensive premium.
Medigap Enrollment In West Virginia
As far as West Virginia goes, Plan C is the most popular form of Medigap supplement which is currently available for purchase in the state. This is different from many other states, where the more comprehensive Plan F tends to be the winning favorite. Below, we’ll discuss the differences between plans, and why one might be favored over another.
Plan Coverage & Cost
Health insurance – as well as the price you pay for it – are customized to you, the individual. Your weight, tobacco habits, age, gender, and specific location will all impact the monthly costs you have to pay for a Medicare supplemental insurance policy. To get an idea of what to prepare for, price-wise, check out starting rates for popular plans locally.
Most Popular Medicare Supplement Plans in West Virginia
As stated above, West Virginia seniors differ from the rest of the country in that they prefer Medigap Plan C over the nationally popular Plan F. The latter is traditionally more highly favored due to the fact that it is 100% comprehensive when it comes to Medicare coverage gaps. All seniors have to do is pay one monthly premium, and they can rest easy.
Plans C and F are almost identical, save for one specific benefit. Plan F covers Medicare Part B excess charges, whereas Plan C does not. However, the monthly premium for Plan C is less expensive than Plan F. And if you live in an area where Part B excess charges aren’t a common or expensive occurrence, then Plan C is obviously the better deal.
Helpful Medigap Tips & Tricks
Doctor/Provider Network Restrictions
Medicare supplement isn’t your only choice for supplementing your Medicare coverage gaps – yet it is the most adaptable one. A number of other types of supplemental coverage, Medicare Advantage in particular, control which physicians you can visit and which facilities you can obtain health care from. Going beyond these pre-approved networks can be costly, and the approval process can be challenging. Medicare supplement, however, will allow you to use whatever physician or visit any facility which will accept Medicare.
Drug, Vision and Dental Coverage
In the year 2010, the federal government handed down legislation which transformed how Medicare supplement insurance handled prescription drug coverage. Because Medicare Part D exists, All plans for Medicare Supplement in West Virginia which provided prescription drug benefits are being eliminated. Vision and dental benefits are a different subject entirely. They’ve never been insured by either Medicare or Medigap, and should be bought independently through a private company in case you have the need for those services.
Enrollment Options & Best Time To Enroll
For the simplest, quickest, and most hassle-free enrollment experience, you ought to enroll in a Medigap policy once you are enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B. In the event you wait, then getting insured may be very difficult and/or expensive.
- Initial Enrollment Period: When you sign up for Original Medicare, you have 6 months to also enroll in a policy for a Medicare Supplement in West Virginia in order to meet the requirements for the initial enrollment period. Applying during the IEP guarantees automatic approval and coverage.
- Guaranteed Issue: Just like the IEP mentioned previously, you will be automatically accepted without the need to answer invasive health queries or endure an exam. Guarantee Issue is usually for retirees who don’t register during the IEP simply because they were formerly insured by an employer or group health plan.
- Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): Unlike many varieties of insurance, you can register for a policy for Medicare Supplement in West Virginia whenever you want. You are not restricted by an annual enrollment period.
- Underwritten: A complicated process where you have to answer questions regarding your state of health and even go through a physical exam before your chosen insurance company will offer to sell you a policy.
Free Look Period
If you sign up for a plan for Medicare Supplement in West Virginia but eventually realize that it isn’t the best fit, there’s no reason to fret – so long as you make that discovery inside the initial 30 days of coverage. The “Free Look Period” gives retirees the ability to end their coverage for a full refund within the first 30 days if they aren’t totally happy with their policy.